Are we developed towards God?
All of mankind is worshipers and they will either worship Jehovah or idols because no one is neutral. In Rom. 1:18-19, we are told, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” All people have God’s clear revelation of truth, but it is wicked people who will suppress that truth. This is why Paul goes on to say that although they know God they do not glorify him, but become futile in their thinking and eventually worship idols.
But, what about our children. Do they act the same way as adults do: either a worshiper of God or of idols? Consider this: children either respond to God by faith or they suppress the truth in unrighteousness. So, yes there is a choosing that begins when we are very young between two ways of life and sometimes we forget that all are made in the image of God and therefore, even at a young age, we can either be serving God or serving idols. I think this is why Solomon spoke about spanking a child and how it was done to drive folly away from the heart of a child (Prov. 22:15). Consider further that the preaching of the cross, to the world, is folly (1 Cor. 1:18). So, basically Solomon was stating that something was wrong with the child’s heart that required correction. It obviously was not headed in the ways of God, but down a different path.
You see, the heart is not neutral and the idols that I mention that can be in the heart of our children or us are things not made of wood or stone. But rather, the subtle idols of the heart. Things like conformity to the world, embracing earthly mindsets, and setting our affections on things below. And, with these idols comes our motives, desires, wants, goals, hopes and expectations that rule the heart.
So, either we will respond to life as children of faith who know, love and serve Jehovah or we will respond as children of foolishness and unbelief, who neither know God nor serve him. So, whom do we worship and more importantly, whom do our children worship? For parents, parenting is not just providing good input, creating a constructive home atmosphere and positive interactions. The child is interacting with the living God and is either worshiping, serving and growing in understanding of who God is, or he is seeking to make sense of life without a relationship with God. If he is living as a fool who says in his heart there is no God, he does not cease to be a worshiper—he simply worships what is not God. Thus, part of the parents’ task is to shepherd that child pointing him to the One whom alone is worthy of his worship.
Prov. 4; 23 tells us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Life flows out from the heart and parenting cannot be concerned only with positive shaping influences. It must shepherd the heart as an elder shepherds the church! And, we cannot forget that the world’s smallest hand-to-hand combat field is a child’s heart and we need to provide them with the quality of relationships in our homes that reflect God’s grace and mercy for sinners, a home whose values are scripturally based and that any punishments are appropriate to reflect a holy God’s view of sin. We must all realize that either we grow in love and trust in God or we turn more fully to the forms of idolatry and self‐reliance because selfishness is not outgrown nor is rebellion against authority outgrown. Therefore, we must pray that God will work in and around us and our efforts as parents so we can make ourselves and our children people who know and honor God.